About

A mezzo-soprano praised for her “stylish” singing (Opera Magazine) and the “emotional force” (The Times) of her performances, Joanna Harries enjoys a varied career on both the opera stage and recital platform.

In the 2021/22 season Joanna is a Young Artist at the National Opera Studio in London, performing scenes as Cherubino, Idamante, Ruggiero, Le Prince Charmant and Cenerentola with the orchestras of English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, Opera North and Scottish Opera. She also performs Hélène Une éducation manquée and Bastienne Bastien und Bastienne for Opera South, Karolka Jenůfa for Fulham Opera and Diana in Scott Stroman’s new opera The Weekend in a cast led by Adrian Thompson. Concerts this season include a tour of Scandinavian Song with Sholto Kynoch for Oxford Lieder, a series of recitals for Opera Prelude and a Britten Pears Young Artist recital with Sarah Connolly and Joseph Middleton. Joanna also brings SongPath, the mental health initiative she co-founded with contralto Jess Dandy, to Oxford Lieder and Leeds Lieder.

Future plans include her debut with Opera Rara as Page in Offenbach’s La Princesse de Trébizonde (recording and concert performance at the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall), Contessa Ceprano Rigoletto for Opera Holland Park, Lucinda La forza dell’amor paterno for The Barber Opera, and the return of SongPath to Oxford Lieder in October 2022. Joanna has also been selected for the prestigious International Vocal Competition ‘s-Hertogenbosch 2022 in the Netherlands.

In 2021 Joanna was awarded a Sybil Tutton Opera Award, a Tait Memorial Trust Award and a Royal Philharmonic Society Enterprise Award for her new podcast Songs of the River. She is also a finalist in the Boosey & Hawkes SingFinzi competition.

More about Joanna

Born in New Zealand and raised in Wales, Joanna was a choral scholar at the University of Cambridge and before training at the Royal Northern College of Music and Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Her opera roles stretch from baroque to contemporary, including Dido Dido and Aeneas, Cherubino Le Nozze di Figaro, Zerlina Don Giovanni, Varvara Kat’a Kabanova, the Drummer Der Kaiser von Atlantis and Sāvitri Sāvitri. She has performed with companies including Welsh National Opera, Scottish Opera, Opera Holland Park, Grange Park Opera, Longborough Festival Opera and British Youth Opera. Joanna was also an Emerging Artist for the Royal Opera House “Opera Dots” programme.

As concert soloist her performances include Bach’s Christmas Oratorio at Snape Maltings Concert Hall; Macmillan’s Seven Last Words From The Cross with the BBC Philharmonic at Harrogate Royal Hall; Bach’s Easter Oratorio at the Bach Festival Świdnica in Poland; Bach’s St Matthew Passion with Skipton Camerata; Handel’s Messiah at Lincoln Cathedral; Haydn’s Maria Theresa Mass at Chester Cathedral and Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 at Sheffield Cathedral.

A keen recitalist, Joanna has performed with Oxford Lieder, the Britten Studio at Snape Maltings, Pushkin House and the National Portrait Gallery. She is an Opera Prelude Young Artist, and a former Handel House Talent and Britten Pears Young Artist, and was awarded the Edith Brass Prize for Lieder at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Joanna is in demand as a performer of contemporary music and has premiered roles in new operas including Prometheus in Tim Benjamin’s The Fire of Olympus, Tartine in David Blake & Keith Warner’s Scoring a Century for British Youth Opera, Awen (cover) in Pwyll ap Sion’s Gair ar Gnawd for Welsh National Opera, and Girl/Psychiatrist in Scott Stroman & Tamsin Collison’s Fever Pitch, an adaptation of the iconic Nick Hornby book. She has also premiered vocal works by composers such as by Lucy Armstrong (Cheese at the Bridgewater Hall), Melissa Douglas (Sonnet 116 at the John Ryland’s Library, Manchester), Michael Betteridge (Dawn Chorus at the Royal Exchange Theatre), and Anna Appleby (winning composition, 2015 Rosamond Prize). She performed as vocal soloist in the UK revival of Steve Reich’s video opera Three Tales (Ensemble BPM) and has collaborated several times with performance artist Maeve Rendle, including at Manchester Art Gallery, The Whitworth and the Harris Museum in Preston.

Joanna is co-founder of SongPath with contralto Jess Dandy – an initiative bringing together music, walking and nature for mental health. SongPath’s inaugural event took place in Cumbria in 2019 as part of the Ulverston Music Festival and has since partnered with Oxford Lieder and Leeds Lieder.

Please do not print, edit or reproduce this biography without permission.

Reviews

Ullmann Der Kaiser von Atlantis (Drummer)

"An outstandingly intense cast (Chiara Vinci, Joanna Harries, Peter Brathwaite)...help to evoke the manic mixture of desperation, determination and fatalistic urgency.”
Richard Morrison - The Times

Handel Agrippina (Ottone)

"Another outstanding interpretation was that of Joanna Harries as Ottone...She has a beautifully schooled mezzo and projected each of her emotionally penetrating arias with great accomplishment."
Opera Scotland